< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Struggling with Sin

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Struggling with Sin

More from my lesson from the book The Pursuit of Holiness:

We shouldn’t hide the fact that we struggle with sin because realizing that we do helps us battle it. Even Paul struggled. He wrote in Romans 7:21When I want to do good evil is right there with me.”

We have an indwelling propensity to sin inside of us, but now as Christians we also have the Holy Spirit inside who gives us the desire for holiness. So it is a battle.

David in Psalm 139 asked God to “Search me, O God, and know my heart: test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”

God’s primary means of searching our hearts this way is through His Word. When we read it under the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

So Satan goes after our minds. He deceives us. He helps us reason that something isn’t so bad, or he discourages us into thinking we are hopeless, so why even try.

We have to always be vigilant against sin. Jesus said in Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

So, you might be wondering, “I thought that the war with sin was won by Christ in His death on the cross so why am I still harassed and often defeated by sin in my heart?”

The author says we must accept the fact that God in His infinite wisdom has seen fit to allow this daily battle with indwelling sin. But He doesn’t leave us to battle it alone. Christianity is not a do it yourself thing. He has made ample provision for us to win the daily skirmishes. It’s not just that we are dead to sin, but we are alive to Christ. That means we are united with Christ and have His priority.

Our reactions to circumstances and trials and temptations are a part of our walk of holiness. Holiness isn’t a series of dos and don’ts, but conformity to the character of God and obedience to the will of God. Accepting with contentment whatever circumstances God allows for us is part of our holy walk. Paul wrote to the Philippians in 4: 11-13: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

He said he could respond in contentment because Christ gave him the strength to. If you read on in Philippians you’ll see Paul thanking the Philippians for their support. God will send people to help us. He will send us to help others!

Paul said to the Ephesians in 3:20 that God: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

We’ve all resolved a hundred times not to give in to some temptation we keep having, but we do. That’s when Satan comes to us and says, “You might as well give up. You can never overcome sin.” And we can’t on our own. Just knowing that helps! Then we need to rely on the Holy Spirit who is in us to do His work.

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